IperionX Limited (“IperionX” or “Company”) (ASX: IPX) is pleased to announce that Energy Fuels, Inc. (“Energy Fuels”) (NYSE: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) has undertaken laboratory evaluation of rare earth mineral concentrates from IperionX’s Titan Project in west Tennessee.
IperionX and Energy Fuels previously signed a memorandum of understanding for the supply of natural monazite sands from IperionX’s Titan Project in Tennessee to Energy Fuels’ White Mesa Mill in Utah (refer ASX announcement dated April 22, 2021). Energy Fuels and IperionX are continuing to evaluate expanding their collaboration to establish a fully integrated permanent rare earth magnet supply chain in the U.S.
Energy Fuels’ evaluation indicates that IperionX’s rare earth minerals are suitable as a high quality feedstock to produce a high purity mixed rare earth carbonate at Energy Fuels’ White Mesa Mill in Utah. Energy Fuels is currently producing a mixed rare earth carbonate at commercial scale at its mill. This commercial product is the most advanced rare earth material being produced in the U.S. today at scale. Energy Fuels also intends to construct solvent extraction (SX) rare earth separation infrastructure at its mill in the coming years, allowing the facility to produce separated rare earth oxides from high quality feedstocks like the rare earth concentrate expected to be produced from IperionX’s Titan Project. Energy Fuels has also made moves into the rare earth metal and alloy business.
Rare earth elements are used in many applications including battery alloys, catalysts, ceramics and metal alloys. However, it is the increasing demand for rare earths used in high strength permanent magnets found in power dense electric motors used in electric vehicles and wind turbines that makes up the majority of global consumption.
In particular, the heavy rare earths dysprosium and terbium are essential for the production of NdFeB magnets used in clean energy, military and high technology solutions. Establishing a U.S. heavy rare earth to magnet supply will be highly strategic and valuable to the country’s leading defense, EV and clean energy sectors.
Test work to date1 indicates that IperionX’s rare earth minerals contain a large amount of the light rare earths neodymium and praseodymium, as well as a significant distribution of the highly valuable heavy rare earths terbium and dysprosium. There is only minor production of dysprosium and terbium outside of China, and almost no production within the USA. Currently, almost all U.S. rare earth mineral production is processed overseas, primarily in China, which makes Energy Fuels’ current rare earth carbonate production, and future separated rare earth oxide production, and potential metal and alloy production, highly strategic.
The combination of IperionX’s heavy rare earth rich minerals in Tennessee and Energy Fuels’ operating processing facilities in Utah provides the potential to rapidly progress a fully integrated rare earth magnet supply chain in the U.S.
1 Refer to IperionX ASX announcement dated August 9, 2021
Mark Chalmers, Energy Fuels’ President and CEO said: “We are very pleased with the test results observed so far from IperionX’s Titan Project. We are seeking sources of natural monazite ore to feed our rare earth initiative, with a particular interest in U.S. sources, like Titan. We have already ‘cracked the code’ of phosphate rare earth minerals at U.S. standards, and today we are in commercial production of an advanced rare earth material. In the next few years, we expect to be producing separated light rare earth oxides at our mill in Utah, USA. In addition, we are currently performing successful, high-purity separations through NdPr in our mill laboratory, and we just began performing lanthanum separation at commercial scale using existing equipment at the mill. With supply partners like IperionX, we are quickly moving toward creating a new, low-cost, fully-integrated rare earth magnet supply chain here in the U.S. We look forward to growing our collaboration with IperionX in the coming months.”
Anastasios (Taso) Arima, IperionX’s Managing Director and CEO said: “We are happy to be rapidly advancing our collaboration with Energy Fuels to establish a rare earths supply chain right here in the USA. As is currently being highlighted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the import dependence of the U.S. for key critical minerals, including rare earths and titanium, presents a huge threat to the security of key domestic industries. The collaboration with Energy Fuels highlights the importance of IperionX’s Titan Project in enabling the U.S. to deliver a clean energy future, particularly given the critical importance of meaningful sources of North American monazite.”
Full details can be found here.
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